Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tales: Eric Alperin & Phil Ward dinner at GW Fins

Each year at Tales of the Cocktail, a series of dinners is organized on the Thursday evening, which are collectively known as Spirited Dinners. They involve guest bartenders creating cocktail pairings for a custom menu at each of 25 different restaurants.

I attended the Spirited Dinner at GW Fins, which was a collaboration between Chef Tenny Flynn and bartenders Eric Alperin and Phil Ward. Over a 5 course meal, Alperin and Ward paired cocktails to match Flynn’s seafood cuisine.

The menu was:

Salmon & Tuna Tartares (not pictured)
Pan American Punch (Phil Ward) (not pictured)

Wood-grilled Louisiana Shrimp: pineapple basil butter, melon Carpaccio [note picture is of same dish but with catfish]
A Brazilian on Holiday (Eric Alperin)

Peach & Prosciutto Salad: baby arugula, Ricotta Salata, pickled Vidalia onion (not pictured)
Watermelon Sugar (Phil Ward)

Alaskan Yukon King Salmon: sweet and smoky glaze, summer succotash
The Slight Detour (Phil Ward)(not pictured)

Passion Fruit Panna Cotta: fresh berries
Atomized Bitters with a Tequila Finish (Eric Alperin)[Note that the drink is the atomizer to the right of the panna cotta in the picture below]

Below Alperin and Ward work on producing the Brazilian on Holiday

At one point in the dinner, a green gorilla, courtesy of Leblon Cachaca, joined our table, next to designer Ricki Kline.

Overall the evening was a success with the food and drinks both delicious. The restaurant was especially gracious about substituting catfish for shrimp in the 2nd course. It can't be easy to make batches of drinks for 60 people but the drinks came out to the whole dining room at once and suffered no effects for being made in batches rather than one at a time.

The last pairing was rather unique, as it was served in an atomizer rather than in a glass. The ingredients in Atomized Bitters with a Tequila Finish included F Ocho añejo tequila and the following bitters: wooded wheat neutral spirit, bitter orange peel, cardamom, orris root, sichuan peppercorn, long pepper, dark chocolate, black tea, hibiscus flower, tangelo (pomelo & tangerine) and vanilla bean. The "cocktail" was meant to be sprayed on the dessert course, to taste.

Alperin and Ward each came out to the dining room with each course to introduce the drink that they had paired with the course. A Brazilian on Holiday was one of my favorites of the evening. Courtesy of Eric Alperin, the recipe is below:

A Brazilian on Holiday Recipe by Eric Alperin
1/2 lime juice
1/2 French Dry Vermouth
1/2 Leblon cachaca
1/4 Licor 43
1/4 Campari
Light toss w/ ice of above.
Strain flute
Top Brut Champagne
Cucumber strip garnish

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